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Charlotte City Council to release whistleblower probe of fire department

Crystal Eschert, a former Charlotte fire investigator, was fired for her Facebook comments about the aftermath of the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo.
Crystal Eschert, a former Charlotte fire investigator, was fired for her Facebook comments about the aftermath of the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo.

The Charlotte City Council voted in closed session Monday night to release on Tuesday an investigator’s report into whether the Fire Department retaliated against a former employee who complained about the conditions in a building that was being renovated.

Council members met for more than three hours in closed session to discuss the report, which was conducted by Greensboro attorney Allison Van Laningham.

Former fire investigator Crystal Eschert said she was fired because she complained about the quality of renovations at a building on North Graham Street. She said someone associated with the department created a fake online persona to discredit her.

Fire Chief Jon Hannan has said that’s not true and that the department didn’t retaliate against her. He has said she was fired for making what the department said was an offensive Facebook post about the aftermath of the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.

Eschert was the first person the city has fired for violating its social media policy.

The city’s press conference to discuss the report will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Government Center.

The city said the investigation is not a public record under state law because it deals with personnel issues. But state law allows for council members to release such information if it’s found to be critical to maintaining public trust.

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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